Questions tagged [prepositions]

Prepositions are function words like "to", "over", "through", "in". The meaning of a sentence can be dramatically altered by choosing the wrong preposition. Questions need to include enough information for the intended meaning to be deduced.

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152
votes
12answers
35k views

When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition?

Like many others, I commonly find myself ending a sentence with a preposition. Yes, it makes me cringe. I usually rewrite the sentence, but sometimes (in emails) I just live with it. To, with... ...
125
votes
3answers
460k views

What is the difference between “till” and “until”?

What is the difference between till and until? When to use till or until? Please explain with examples.
105
votes
4answers
388k views

“Replace with” versus “replace by”

I often see "replace with" and "replace by" used interchangeably, but this doesn't sound right to me: I replaced that component by this one. I would use "with" in such a sentence. "By" only seems ...
98
votes
8answers
18k views

Which is correct: “__ is different from __” or “__ is different than __”?

As someone who learned English later on in life, I was taught that different from is the correct grammar to use: this is different from that. However, it seems these days everyone uses different than ...
79
votes
6answers
264k views

“Compared with” vs “Compared to”—which is used when?

Is only one of them correct? Are they used in different situations? Or are they interchangeable?
71
votes
12answers
122k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
69
votes
4answers
8k views

Meaning of “has a ____ to it”

People talking about how something will be perceived sometimes use the phrase "to it". For example people sometimes say "It will have a nice color to it." instead of just it will have a nice color. Or ...
68
votes
4answers
531k views

“Consist in” vs. “consist of”

I would like to clarify this once and for all: What is the correct use of "consist in" vs. "consist of"? "Meditation consists in/of attentive watchfulness." "The body consists in/of cells." ...
58
votes
12answers
171k views

“Based on” instead of “based off of”

I sometimes see cases where off is followed by of, and it sounds awkward to me. For example, I would prefer This story is based on a true story. to This story is based off of a true story. ...
57
votes
5answers
43k views

When are “because”, “since”,“for” and “as” interchangeable?

I am not a native speaker. On a previous question of mine, I thanked for an answer by saying: So the phrase is not an idiom, since it is applied in its literal sense. I consciously chose since ...
55
votes
5answers
467k views

“Fill out a form” or “fill in a form”

Does one fill out a form or does one fill in a form? I've gotten different answers from the people I've asked. Google search results: fill in a form — 14,200,000 fill out a form — 7,000,000
54
votes
10answers
13k views

What does 'for' mean in 'We are done for'?

There is an English expression do for, which means to kill, to execute, to ruin, to defeat etc. and this expression seems to always be used in passive voice: e.g.) We are done for. I understand this ...
54
votes
6answers
199k views

Which is correct: “prefer X to Y” or “prefer X over Y”?

Many say that "prefer X to Y" has a more formal ring to it than "prefer X over Y". Are there any dialects where you wouldn't use "prefer X to Y" in colloquial speech at all? Conversely, are there any ...
53
votes
3answers
198k views

When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa?

"Into" (one word) and "in to" (two words) are frequently confused. In what situations should the former be used? The latter?
53
votes
4answers
285k views

'Made of' vs. 'Made from'

What is the basic difference between "made of" and "made from." Both expressions are used in English. For instance, "This chair is made of wood," and "Cream is made from milk." Though the question is ...
51
votes
5answers
341k views

“In the Internet” vs. “on the Internet”

When should I use "in the Internet" and when "on the Internet"?
50
votes
7answers
79k views

“between” vs. “among”

Today I was cut off in the middle of the following sentence: Between Cook, Strauss, and Pietersen— My friend said I was wrong. He said that for more than two entities, among/amongst are used, and ...
49
votes
5answers
11k views

Why do we say “under the grill”, not “above” or “on” the grill?

I found this sentence in a textbook. It's I cooked the fish slowly on / under the grill. According to the author, the correct answer is under. I also used Google. It turns out that there ...
48
votes
3answers
676k views

“Agree on” vs. “agree with” vs. “agree to”

What are the differences between "agree on", "agree with" and "agree to"?
46
votes
1answer
129k views

Independent/independently of/from

Which of these are correct, and why? Suggestions for rephrasing it are also welcome. [noun] was developed independently of [noun] [noun] was developed independently from [noun] [noun] was ...
45
votes
8answers
7k views

Why do the titles of scholarly works sometimes begin with the word “on”?

For example, one of the articles in volume 183 issue 1 (January 2016) of Annals of Mathematics is titled "On the fibration method for zero-cycles and rational points". Why not just call it "The ...
45
votes
6answers
481k views

“Call me through/at/on this number”

What is the difference between the following when referring to telephone calls? Please call me on this number. You can reach me on this number. Please call me at this number. You can reach me ...
44
votes
3answers
264k views

“Solution for” or “solution to” a problem?

I need to find a solution to/for this problem. Can to and for be used interchangeably here? Is one of them just plain wrong?
43
votes
7answers
373k views

“In time” versus “on time”

Which one is correct: Submit your work in time. Submit your work on time.
42
votes
7answers
35k views

Why use “of” in the phrase “delivered of a baby”?

With all the "Royal baby" craze comes something that really confuses me. All the news media used pretty much the same sentence to make the announcement: The Duchess of Cambridge has been delivered ...
41
votes
3answers
199k views

“proficient <in/at/with>” What is the correct usage?

Which preposition is correct in the phrase "proficient in/at/with English"?
41
votes
5answers
50k views

What's the difference between 'allow' and 'allow for'?

To be precise, I know that allow means to permit, and allow for is more like to make something possible, to enable, to make a provision for, but I'm still in doubt when I have to decide whether to use ...
40
votes
9answers
60k views

Is it correct to say “on accident” instead of “by accident”?

There is a great chasm on these phrases in the US. The great divide seems to be currently centered at the age of 40. The younger generation has began shifting to "on accident" for unknown reasons. ...
38
votes
4answers
11k views

“This question has been asked at Stack Overflow” vs. “on Stack Overflow”

How should I phrase it: This question has been asked at Stack Overflow. Or, This question has been asked on Stack Overflow.
38
votes
2answers
435k views

“provide” vs. “provide with”

I am wondering if the following sentence is correct: We add the information their study provides with to our article. The context is: their study provides with some information. And we add the ...
37
votes
5answers
318k views

Get hold of, get ahold of, get a hold of

Under what circumstances would you prefer one of the following over the other two? Get hold of Get ahold of Get a hold of
36
votes
10answers
288k views

“By foot” vs. “on foot”

Which one is correct? I go to school by foot. I go to school on foot. Are there instances when the expression by foot is preferred? My last question is the following: Why is the ...
36
votes
2answers
259k views

“As a side note” vs. “on a side note”

What is the difference between "as a side note" and "on a side note"? Are they interchangeable? Which one is preferred over the other?
35
votes
5answers
2k views

Regional dialect or just improper grammar? Eating on leftovers or just eating leftovers

On several occasions I have heard white people from the deep south part of the United States (Louisiana to Georgia) say that they will be eating ON leftovers, instead of just eating leftovers. For ...
35
votes
4answers
639k views

“At” or “in” the office?

When do you use at the office? And when do you use in the office? What's the difference between the phrases?
35
votes
6answers
97k views

Is “of ” necessary in “all of ”? [duplicate]

Listen to all your fans Name all the states vs Listen to all of  your fans Name all of  the states What part of language is of  in these examples? Is it necessary or optional, correct or ...
34
votes
4answers
182k views

Expressing an opinion: to me or for me?

Which one should be used? To me, it makes no difference, but I'm not really sure why. vs For me, it makes no difference, but I'm not really sure why.
32
votes
4answers
60k views

Is it “despite” or “despite of”?

Should I always use 'despite' instead of 'despite of'?
32
votes
8answers
6k views

“On” hard drive versus “in” memory

Why do American English speakers typically say something is "on the hard drive" when referring to data stored with a hard drive (or other permanent storage device) but when referring to something ...
32
votes
3answers
302k views

“Congratulate for” vs. “congratulate on”

Which is correct? I congratulated him for coming first in the race. I congratulated him on coming first in the race.
31
votes
5answers
160k views

What is the difference between “by contrast” and “in contrast?”

Can anyone explain the difference between by contrast and in contrast?
30
votes
5answers
383k views

“With who” vs. “with whom”

Is this correct? The person with whom I'm doing the project should be here soon. If it is, is with always a dative preposition (like mit in German)?
30
votes
5answers
3k views

What are the historical processes of preposition coining in English?

RegDwight's excellent answer showing the historical usage of despite got me thinking about the processes by which new prepositions are coined. Prepositions are generally considered a closed class, and ...
30
votes
2answers
30k views

When should I use “in” or “on”?

As it is common with people from my country, I have an immense difficulty with prepositions in English, especially with the use of in and on. When the preposition indicates the position of the ...
29
votes
4answers
223k views

“Sit in a chair” vs. “sit on a chair”

What is the correct usage? I know you sit 'on' a sofa/couch. What about chair?
29
votes
5answers
5k views

Is “I like dogs but cats” a valid sentence?

Is "I like dogs but cats" a valid sentence? This question comes from a debate with my friend. She says this sentence must be valid and gives an example of the Visual Studio string: "Close all but ...
29
votes
5answers
21k views

What is the distinction between “among” and “amongst”?

It seems amongst is quite often used as a synonym for among but it is supposed to sound more distinguished. Is there any difference in the meaning?
29
votes
7answers
616k views

Difference between “at” and “in” when specifying location

I am used to saying "I am in India.". But somewhere I saw it said "I am at Puri (Oriisa)". I would like to know the differences between "in" and "at" in the above two sentences.
28
votes
4answers
171k views

“Translate into” vs. “Translate to”

Does one translate a word or phrase into another language or to another language? For example: Translate the following phrase to Spanish. Translate the following phrase into Spanish.
28
votes
2answers
206k views

“On a page” or “in a page” for a web page

Which is the correct usage: Something on a page OR Something in a page By page, I mean a web page, not a physical book page.